Passover Retreat 2016
Rabbi Yehuda Salkow and the JRC invite everyone to the Quality Inn in Stroudsburg for an amazing Passover experience. The full three day, two night retreat will include both Seders and all holiday meals. Special lectures will be featured as well as children’s programming. Continental breakfasts along with snacks and coffee throughout the day will be available. The Quality Inn in Stroudsburg has been renovated and is now under new management. Package deals are discounted while individual meals are also available at very reasonable rates. The inspiring and enjoyable JRC Passover retreat is sure to be a treat for all participants!
- Please contact us for our very reasonable rates!
Do you reside in the Poconos? Be sure to contact us for special discounts!
- Are you not available to join us for the entire program? Contact us for individual Seder and luncheon prices
- Seder Sponsorship – $360
- Yom Tov Meal Sponsorship – $200
- Lecture Sponsorships – $180
What is Passover?
Passover is the Holiday which commemorates the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The Exodus culminated in the establishment of the Jews as a nation with the acceptance of the Torah at Mt. Sinai a mere 50 days later. On Passover we reaffirm our deep-rooted faith in the Al-mighty and pass the baton of this tradition on to the next generation.
When does Passover begin?
It begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. This year, it coincides with Saturday, April 23rd. This means that the first Seder will be held on Friday Evening, April 14th.
How long does Passover last?
Passover is eight days long! (In Israel, it is seven days long.) The first two days and last two days are formal Holiday days (similar to Shabbat), while the middle four are referred to as the intermediate days of the Holiday. This means that they have the status of a quasi-holiday quasi-weekday. The Matzah and chometz requirements (see below) remain in effect and we are still pervaded by the holiday spirit.
What is a Seder?
Seder literally means “order”. This represents the fact that on Passover night we engage ourselves in a series of rituals and ceremonies which are performed in a very particular order. Some of these observances are commandments of the Torah, some are Rabbinical requirements and many others are based on customs which may vary. All of them are enjoyable and spiritually uplifting!
What is Chometz?
When grain comes into contact with water a chemical process of fermentation is set into motion. When the fermentation reaches a certain point, the result is leaven or chometz. The process may be speeded up by the presence of other ingredients, most notably yeast, or other outside factors such as temperature. In a cool moist environment, flour and water will become chometz in 18 minutes. All standard breads, cakes, cookies, crackers, pretzels and pretty much all other grain products are chometz. Even most commercial Matzah which is produced throughout the year is chometz!
What is Passover Matzah (and why is the hand-made variety so expensive)?
Passover Matzah is produced under very special conditions so as to avoid the slightest possibility of the presence of the dreaded chometz. The grain is harvested at a precise time taking care to keep it from any moisture. The entire process, through the flour being delivered to the Matzah bakery, is carried out under the watchful eye of expert supervisors. The bakery itself is run in a supremely efficient manner. All implements are constantly inspected for any stray dough which, if left alone, will become chometz. The ovens are kept at very high temperatures so that the actual baking of a hand-made Matzah takes a few seconds. The baking of the dough into Matzah is what stops the fermentation and leavening processes. Even the final product is checked for folds which may not have been baked completely. These are discarded, not to be used on Passover. There are many more details and steps to this exact process. Passover products in general are very expensive to produce for the reasons explained above. The costs are insignificant however in relation to the gains (not grains) and benefits one enjoys from observing this very precious Mitzvah.
What are some of the mitzvot of Passover?
The most dominant aspects of Passover are the aforementioned Chometz and Matzah requirements. The prohibition of chometz is a scriptural one and is stringent. It symbolizes laziness and physicality. There is a positive Mitzvah to consume a certain amount of Matzah at the Seder. It commemorates the “poor man’s bread” that was eaten during our slavery in Egypt as well as the Matzah that the Jews ate as they were hurried out of Egypt without enough time for their dough to rise.
What other mitzvot do we observe?
We eat bitter herbs at the Seder (usually horseradish, romaine lettuce or a combination). This is to remind us of the bitter slavery that we endured in Egypt for nearly a hundred years. We drink the four cups of wine, interspersed throughout the Seder. These symbolize the four different expressions of redemption which Hashem used when He promised to release us from the bondage of Egypt.
What does Haggadah mean and why so much emphasis on the Exodus story?
Haggadah means, “to relate,” as in to relate a story. Relating the story of our Exodus from Egypt is an integral component of Passover and of the Seder experience in particular. Through this we pass the traditions of our forefathers on from generation to generation. The children are one of the main focuses at the Seder and the actual text of the Haggadah is geared in their direction. We encourage their questions and we use different methods to continually pique their interest throughout the Seder. Some of the reasons given for various rituals are, “to spur the children to ask.” This is all because of the nature of the story of the Exodus. The miracles that occured at that time made it obvious to all that the world is run by a Creator who is the G-d of the Jewish Nation. By relating the miracles to our children, we are instilling in them the faith and beliefs that are the foundation of our very existence as a nation.